Ever sampled Templeton Rye whiskey? That's only a small taste of the story behind Iowa whiskey.
See how the story began with "Whiskey Cookers: The Amazing True Story of the Templeton Rye Bootleggers," an award-winning documentary detailing the now well-known Prohibition bootleggers from Templeton, Iowa.
The film will have its TV broadcast premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday on WQPT, PBS Quad Cities. You can also view Ken Burns’ documentary, "Prohibition," on Sunday. Catch the pair of films again on WQPT at 9 p.m. Thursday.
A century after Prohibition, the film looks at how the town of 400 people, comprised of mostly German-Catholic immigrants, banded together to keep the spirit of beer and liquor alive while facing anti-German xenophobia.
Dan Manatt, the director of "Whiskey Cookers," stumbled upon the story of Templeton while exploring family history. His parents live in nearby Audubon.
"I grew up hearing the story of Templeton over and over again and I thought it would make for a good documentary," Manatt said.
As Manatt and his team dug through newspaper clips and other archives, he uncovered more of a story than he expected.
"It wasn't just a few farmers hiding in their basement," he said. "It was a full blown out conspiracy and the whole town was in on it."
The whole town includes the banker, butcher, the priest and a few mayors.
"The breadth of the conspiracy was pretty surprising," he said. "These were a lot of German Catholics who love their beer and spirits, and didn't want to be told by the government they couldn't have it."
Doug Miller, who lives in Davenport, produced "Whiskey Cookers."
"WQPT does a terrific service of showcasing independent documentaries, and we are so grateful to get our broadcast premiere in the Quad-Cities," Miller said. "I think it's going to resonate with a lot of people in our area."
The film's storyline spans the Prohibition era, which ended in 1933, and does not address the modern Templeton Rye Spirits company. Still, the film could inform your modern drinking experience, Manatt said.
"When you're drinking this Iowa whiskey, I think it's interesting to know where it came from and where it started all those years ago," Manatt said. "There's a lot to this story people might find surprising."